June 30, 2011
Public sector strike: The generosity of public sector pensions has been laid bare after official calculations showed that a typical teacher can expect to retire with a taxpayer-funded scheme worth more than £500,000.
As a public servant I worry that drawing attention to our pensions might be counter-productive.
Having recently taken up a very minor part time job for Her Majesty I get to work out how much my civil service pension is worth.
As an example:
At the age of fifty according to my bean counter if I forgo £175 p.a. (yes per year) for the next fifteen years (total £2650) I will get an annual index linked pension of £1750 p.a.
Sometimes I feel I have been in the wrong job for too many years.
Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out - leave our pensions alone!
Guardian Lofty Lies
Force energy companies to insulate UK homes, climate advisers say | Environment | The Guardian
Energy companies should be forced to insulate every empty loft and cavity wall in the UK within four years, say the government's climate change advisers.
In the UK, 10m (43%) of all lofts remain unlagged ...
No, the report actually estimates 10m have less than 125mm of loft insulation. That is about five inches. The old standard loft insulation was 4 inches or 100mm. How many of those 10 million houses have just not upgraded their insulation is not stated. Maybe the marginal improvement in energy efficiency is not seen worthwhile by the householder in terms of trouble or cost.
But whatever the Guardian report is wrong.
Fresh water supplies are going to run out, so what can do to make the taps keep running? - The Independent
By Brian Fagan
This may seem like a surprising statement, but the world's supply of fresh water is finite
May I suggest Sir considers performing a rain dance? I believe it is more scientific and effective than the other suggestions.
June 29, 2011
Cuddly Climate Minister Greg
"The climate debate, which was started by Margaret Thatcher who was the first world leader to call for concerted action on man-made climate change, was subsequently almost hijacked by the centre left," Barker said.
"They gave it the narrative and it became a post-cold war means of advocating large-scale government programmes. It almost instinctively drew the antipathy of free marketeers and the centre right who felt uncomfortable with some of the language of the climate change agenda."
Centre left? Only the centre left?
June 28, 2011
Global Warming Makes It Hotter, Colder, Wetter And Drier
"Hot years tend to generate more wet and dry extremes than cold years. This occurs [because] there is more energy available to fuel the evaporation that drives heavy rains and snows, and to make droughts hotter and drier in places storms are avoiding,"
PCSO - Keeping Our Streets Safe
June 27, 2011
Repatriation flights are to be diverted and will no longer be flown back to RAF Lyneham and through the small Wiltshire town of Royal Wootton Bassett, where they were saluted come rain or shine.
Instead, they will arrive back to RAF Brize Norton, where they will be driven through the back gate and then down side roads, neatly avoiding the nearby town of Carterton, as they make their way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Andrew Robathan, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, admitted that the decision to avoid public scenes of emotion had been taken deliberately.
“The side gate was seen by the Ministry of Defence and the police as the most appropriate way to take out future corteges,”
It wasn't the Ministry or the Police that decided the most appropriate way to honour the dead was as they do at Wootton Bassett. It was local people organising themselves despite what our masters want. Long may that continue.
June 26, 2011
The Sunday Huhne
A court has ordered The Sunday Times to hand over a recording of a telephone conversation between Vicky Pryce and Huhne discussing allegations that he pressurised her to take penalty points for speeding on his behalf.
During the exchange, Pryce can be heard talking about her fears of a police inquiry if the claims became public. “It’s one of the things that worried me when I took them; when you made me take the points in the first instance,” she says. Huhne, a challenger for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2007, is heard urging her not to discuss the matter with journalists. He also warns her that it is not “sensible” to talk about it over the telephone.
After a private hearing at Chelmsford crown court last week, a judge ordered that the evidence be handed to the police. The Sunday Times is considering appealing.
I wondered why the story had gone quiet for a week or so. The journalists aren't playing ball but plod is plodding on.
Nick and Billy Get The Decorators In
Separate bedrooms of course, they aren't vicars.
According to The Mail on Sunday the advice states: "The courts do not accept police officers are caused harassment, alarm or distress by words such as: f***, c***, b*****ks, w*****s."
Well f*** me s***** with a c********, does that mean I can ****x**** ****** 8***** them now?
Ocean Desalination - The New AGW Scare
Changes in North Atlantic could also undermine the entire food chain
Dr Carlos Heip, the director general of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, said: "We need to learn much more about what's happening in Europe's seas, but the signs already point to far more trouble than benefit from climate change. Despite the many unknowns, it's obvious that we can expect damaging upheaval as we overturn the workings of a system that's so complex and important."
June 25, 2011
Met Office Forecast - It's Raining Pennies From Heaven
The government-owned body confirmed that its 1,800 staff were in line for bigger bonuses than the £1.4 million they shared last year after it âmet or exceededâ all its targets. Each worker will receive about £800 on average.
he body’s chief scientist, Julia Slingo, saw her annual performance bonus rise by a third to £30,000 last year, while its chief executive, John Hirst, was awarded £50,000. His total pay was £225,000, making him one of the country’s highest paid civil servants.
Is the bonus a consultation for missing out on the Man Booker Prize for Fiction narrowly again?
Glastonbury? More Glastonbore
U2, Coldplay, Beyonce and Radiohead; knee deep cow shit, celebrities in Hunter Welllies and heavy handed security goons stifling any protest, despite that pious prig Eavis claiming he wants "activism".
Aren't you glad you gave it a miss this year?
June 24, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Fred Edition)
Youtube has lots more, often my problem is finding one good video of a performer, with Mississippi Fred McDowell the problem was finding just one to feature
Friday Night is Music Night (Nellie Edition)
Nellie the elephant packs her trunk
Yesterday was a day when Parliament asserted itself against the executive. Nellie is saying Good bye to the circus, if Parliament has its way.
Conservative MPs had been placed on a three line whip to vote down Mark Pritchard’s motion. The government favoured better regulation of circus animals. Mr Pritchard favoured a ban.
Mr Pritchard’s speech in the chamber told us of the pressures he had been under to change his motion. It was an interesting moment in the evolution of this Coalition government, when the government had to accept it was better not to test the mood of the Commons.
Next On Channel 4 - Disaster Movie
Channel 4 to hire first ever weather presenter - Telegraph
Up until now the news anchors on the popular bulletins, such as Jon Snow, have read out the forecast while viewers are shown a map of UK.
However, the Channel 4 News editors now feel that the time has come to have a dedicated weather presenter as climate change produces more unpredictable and extreme spells of weather.
“As our weather patterns become increasingly volatile, we know that our viewers and users want more warning, more explanation and more analysis of the weather; where they are and as a national picture,” said Martin Fewell, Channel 4 News’s deputy editor.
“We want someone who can explain the weather to our viewers but also answer their questions on weather news – the “why” behind the “what”. We want an engaging story-teller with a passion for the weather, and a journalist’s curiosity for spotting the unexpected.”
Hopefully a journalist with more curiosity than the lovely Emma when looking at the weather patterns.
Economist on the IPCC/Greenpeace Renewable Report
Must try harder is their generous conclusion.
Single Acts of Tyranny - Book Review
Single Acts of Tyranny
I have just finished reading this enjoyable tale.
It is set in the present day but in a "what-if" world. One where the Confederacy and the North in the US are two countries. The North is over-taxed, over-regulated and over-governed, based on a country not too far away from here. The South is a libertarian dream of freedom (the slavery issue was resolved in the past).
With that background Stuart builds a not over complicated thriller, and inserts small amounts of libertarian preaching in a subtle way.
I liked the characters and kept turning the pages as I needed to know what happened next.
A book that is ideal for a train or plane journey.
June 22, 2011
Scotch Politicians Can Go Hang As They Ban Free Speech
FOOTBALL supporters could be jailed for singing God Save the Queen or Flower of Scotland under the SNP's new law to crack down on sectarianism.
Making the sign of the cross or singing Rule Britannia could also be regarded as an offence under certain circumstances once the legislation comes into force next football season.
Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham yesterday said that such songs and gestures could be regarded as offensive acts.
Her comments led to opposition politicians claiming that the new law could criminalise people for singing the National Anthem or crossing themselves. Mr Lamont said: "I am now very concerned about how this legislation might be interpreted. For example, if you are a republican Scot, could you then claim that someone singing God Save The Queen is a sectarian attack on you? If you are English, could you then claim that someone singing Flower of Scotland is a sectarian attack on you?
Ms Cunningham said that the aspect of the law designed to tackle internet hate crimes would also apply to offensive graffiti, T-shirts, posters and recorded speech.
So the Scotch are introducing a law to deal with the problem of the Fenian Scum Celtic Supporters vs The Billy Boy Ranger Fans being rude to each other but they can't resist sneaking in a general clause whcih doesn't just deal with football :
Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill
5 Threatening communications
(1) A person commits an offence if—
(a) the person communicates material to another person, and
(b) either Condition A or Condition B is satisfied.
(2) Condition A is that—
(a) the material consists of, contains or implies a threat, or an incitement, to carry out a seriously violent act against a person or against persons of a particular description,
(b) the material or the communication of it would be likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm, and
(c) the person communicating the material—
(i) intends by doing so to cause fear or alarm, or
(ii) is reckless as to whether the communication of the material would cause fear or alarm.
(3) For the purposes of Condition A, where the material consists of or includes an image (whether still or moving), the image is taken to imply a threat or incitement such as is
mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (2) if—
(a) the image depicts or implies the carrying out of a seriously violent act (whether actual or fictitious) against a person or against persons of a particular description
(whether the person or persons depicted are living or dead or actual or fictitious),
(b) a reasonable person would be likely to consider that the image implies the carrying out of a seriously violent act against an actual person or against actual
persons of a particular description.
(4) Subsection (3) does not affect the generality of subsection (2)(a).
(5) Condition B is that—
(a) the material is threatening, and
(b) the person communicating it intends by doing so to stir up religious hatred.
(6) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) to show that the
communication of the material was, in the particular circumstances, reasonable.
(7) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable—
(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to a fine, or to both, or
(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.
6 Section 5: interpretation
(1) Subsections (2) to (5) define expressions used in section 5.
(2) “Communicates” means communicates by any means (other than by means of unrecorded speech); and related expressions are to be construed accordingly. Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill 5
(3) “Material” means anything that is capable of being read, looked at, watched or listened to, either directly or after conversion from data stored in another form.
(4) “Religious hatred” means hatred against—
(a) a group of persons based on their membership (or presumed membership) of—
(i) a religious group (within the meaning given by section 74(7) of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 (asp 7)),
(ii) a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation, or
(b) an individual based on the individual’s membership (or presumed membership) of a group mentioned in either of sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) of paragraph (a).
(5) “Seriously violent act” means an act that would cause serious injury to, or the death of, a person.
(6) In subsection (4)—
(a) “membership”, in relation to a group, includes association with members of that group, and
(b) “presumed” means presumed by the person making the communication.
7 Sections 1(1) and 5(1): offences outside Scotland
(1) As well as applying to anything done in Scotland, sections 1(1) and 5(1) also apply to anything done outside Scotland by—
(a) a British citizen, a British Overseas Territories citizen, a British National (Overseas) or a British Overseas citizen,
(b) a person who under the British Nationality Act 1981 (c.61) is a British subject,
(c) a British protected person within the meaning of that Act, or
(d) a person who is habitually resident in Scotland.
(2) Section 5(1) also applies to a communication made by any person from outside Scotland if the person intends the material communicated to be read, looked at, watched or
listened to primarily in Scotland.
(3) Where an offence under section 1(1) or 5(1) is committed outside Scotland, the person committing the offence may be prosecuted, tried and punished for the offence—
(a) in any sheriff court district in which the person is apprehended or in custody, or
(b) in such sheriff court district as the Lord Advocate may direct, as if the offence had been committed in that district (and the offence is, for all purposes incidental to or consequential on the trial and punishment, deemed to have been committed in that district).
Which as a British Subject seems to me would make it illegal for me to post this:
"He was brought before a firing squad, and in this manner he died as tyrants should, and was hung up by his heals. A fitting, and glorious end!".
Illegal? Because that is what I hope and want to happen to tyrants,;
A person commits an offence if—
..the person communicates material to another person,
..the material consists of, contains or implies a threat, or an incitement, to carry out
a seriously violent act against a person or against persons of a particular
description, where the material consists of or includes an image (whether still or moving), the image is taken to imply a threat or incitement such as is
mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (2) if
(a) the image depicts or implies the carrying out of a seriously violent act (whether actual or fictitious) against a person or against persons of a particular description
(whether the person or persons depicted are living or dead or actual or fictitious), and
(b) a reasonable person would be likely to consider that the image implies the carrying out of a seriously violent act against an actual person or against actual persons of a particular description.
“Communicates” means communicates by any means (other than by means of unrecorded speech);
“Material” means anything that is capable of being read, looked at, watched or listened to, either directly or after conversion from data stored in another form.
Cask Conditioned Aged Spirits
Recommended safe limits for drinking alcohol by older people should be drastically cut, according to a report.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists says people over 65 should drink a maximum of only 1.5 units of alcohol a day.
That is the equivalent of just over about half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine.
A group of experts from the Royal College of Psychiatrists says there is a growing problem with substance abuse among older people, who they describe as society's "invisible addicts".
The report says a third those who experience problems with alcohol abuse do so later on in life, often as a result of big changes like retirement, bereavement or feelings of boredom, loneliness and depression....older people often turn to alcohol in later life as a coping mechanism and this can remain stubbornly hidden from view.
"Invisible", "hidden from view"; that is because it isn't a bloody problem. When your dear old Doris has shuffled off, your kids pop in only once a week and your knees ache like buggery a couple of pints at lunchtime is a very sensible "coping mechanism". But of course the professionals want you to stay sober for them to "care" for you in their own special way in the filthy institutions they run.
Never trust the advice of a man in difficulties.
Europe braced for MEPs' expenses storm - Europe, World - The Independent
Publication of suppressed report could undermine efforts to deal with eurozone debt crisis
By Oliver Wright, Whitehall Editor
The European Parliament will today back down and order the release of a secret report detailing the widespread abuse of expenses by MEPs, The Independent has learnt.
A meeting of senior MEPs is expected to accept a European Court of Justice ruling that there is an "overriding public interest in disclosure".
Given the difficulties the EU faces in persuading countries such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal to accept tough austerity measures, the re-emergence of allegations of misuse of taxpayer funds by MEPs is unlikely to be welcome on the streets of Athens or across the Union.
Those who argued against the publication will be anxious it should not inflame the situation in Greece. Anger there is so far directed at the Commission and other nation member states, but that could spread.
Its hard to take advice to eat your donkey from gold plated swill guzzling pigs, as I think an old Aesop fable says.
Burke and Huhne
The minister is rightly frustrated at an attack on regulation by the Tory right based on flawed notions of freedom and growth
The deregulatory mania that has gripped the Tory right seems to be driven by two deeply felt, but largely evidence-free, ideas: environmental regulation is a barrier to growth and an unwarranted intervention in freedom.
Neither idea stands even a cursory examination. Britain's businesses are not deterred from investing by environmental regulation. They are defeated by the credit-choking consequences of banker's behaviour following Margaret Thatcher's big-bang deregulation of the City. They do not move abroad to avoid regulations, they move abroad to follow lower wages.
How silly some people are. Because of course Environmental Regulations make some people a very decent living.
Tom Burke is a Founding Director of E3G. He is a currently an Environmental Policy Adviser to Rio Tinto plc and a Visiting Professor at Imperial and University Colleges, London. He is a Senior Business Advisor to the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change. He is Chairman of the Editorial Board of ENDS magazine.
He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to chair an Independent Review of Environmental Governance in Northern Ireland from 2006 – 2007. He was a member of the Council of English Nature, the statutory advisor to the British Government on biodiversity from 1999 – 2005. During 2002 he served as an advisor to the Central Policy Group in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. He was Special Adviser to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991 – 1997 after serving as Director of the Green Alliance from 1982 – 1991.
He was an environmental advisor (part time) to BP plc from 1997 – 2001. He was a member of the OECD’s High Level Panel on the Environment 1996 – 1998. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was a member of the Council from 1990-92 sitting on its Environment Committee 1988 – 1996. He also served on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations from 1984 – 1989. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Cranfield Institute of Management and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Manchester Business School.
He was formerly Executive Director of Friends of the Earth and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Environmental Bureau 1988 – 1991. He was the Secretary-General of the Bergen 1990 Environment NGO Conference 1988-90. He was a member of the Board of the World Energy Council’s Commission ‘Energy for Tomorrow’s World’ 1990 – 1993. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for Conservation International’s Centre for Environmental Leadership in Business in the US. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Energy Institute. He also serves on the Advisory Council of the Carbon Disclosure Project. He is a Patron of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and a Vice-President of Environmental Protection UK.
Spit and Polish
The move comes as EU environmental policy was undermined by one of the most important figures in the European commission, causing alarm in Brussels. Janusz Lewandowski, the commissioner in charge of fraught negotiations on the future of the EU's €130bn budget, cast doubt on the science of climate change and the future of emissions policy.
Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser at Greenpeace UK, said: "It's terrifying that the man in charge of Europe's budget is someone you might expect to see in Sarah Palin's Republican party.
"He has a huge influence over all of our economic futures and yet not only does he deny the overwhelming evidence of climate change, but he's also opposing measures that leading businesses say would drive green growth and create millions of new jobs in Europe's clean industries."
A glimmer of hope of sanity then.
June 21, 2011
The Only Stonehenge Solstice Noon Picture This Year
Summer Solstice Noon at Stonehenge - At Stonehenge local solar noon on the Solstice was at 13:09:15 today. And that is when it should be celebrated. And this is what the celebrations looked like. I enjoyed them with the one other person who was in the circle at the time.
(The solstice is not defined by the length of day or night, but by the path of the Sun through the sky. As the sun moves along the ecliptic from the spring equinox it gets further and further north in the sky. When it approaches the autumn equinox it will be getting further south in the sky each day. This is why, for us in the northern hemisphere, the Sun is high in the sky in summer and low in the sky in winter. Some where, between the two equinoxes there will be the point where the Sun reaches the most northern point, which will be half way between the two equinoxes. This point is called the solstice (sun-stands still) and the latitude (approx 23½°) where the Sun is overhead at noon at this time is called the Tropic of Cancer. The corresponding one in the south is called the Tropic of Capricorn. Just as there are two equinoxes, there are two solstices, the summer solstice where the Sun reaches its most northerly point, and the winter solstice where it reaches its southernmost point.
If you consider just the north south movement of the sun, then as it gets close to the solstice its movement northwards gets slower and slower, but it is always moving northwards until, at the solstice, just for a moment, it is stationary. It then immediately starts moving southwards. At that instant there will be one place on the Tropic of Cancer where it will be noon and the Sun will be overhead. This defines when the solstice is, that particular moment in universal time (UT).
This year, 2011 that moment was 17:16 UT.)
June 20, 2011
Breaching The Castle Walls
I have been reading about a local murder and was going to review the book and highlight a suitable passage. But I find Norm Pattis has already done it as I would have wished to do it.
As it is hidden away on his old blog I have taken the liberty of quoting at length.
Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, (Walker & Company, New York: 2008) is a wholly capable and enjoyable look at the crime and its consequences. Ms. Summerscale is the former literary editor of the Daily Telegraph. She writes with a novelist's ease and a scholar's sense of proportion. The endnotes are as fascinating as the text. This is not merely a book about a "true crime." Rather, it is a sophisticated and engaging study of the social history of crime.
One startling effect of the work is a reminder of just how much we take government intrusion for granted today. Ms. Summerscale reminds us that it was once a national scandal in Britain to have undercover police officers surveilling citizens. And England took serious in a way we have long since forsaken the notion that a man's home is his castle.
A newspaper editorial published by the Morning Post 10 days after the Road Hill murder reflects the national mood. By contrast, our attitude toward the Fourth Amendment look attentuated. The exceptions to the warrant requirement have all but held open even the most private spaces to government inquiry.
"Every Englishman is accustomed to pride himself with more than usual complacency upon what is called the sanctity of the English home. No solider, no policeman, no spy of the Government dare enter it ... Unlike the tenant of a foreign domicile, the occupier of an English house, whether it be mansion or cottage, possesses an indisputable title against every kind of aggression upon his threshold. He defies everybody below the Home Secretary; and even he can only violate the traditional security of a man's house under extreme circumstances, ... It is with this thoroughly innate feeling of security that every Englishman feels a strong sense of the inviolability of his own house. It is this that converts the moorside cottage into a castle. The moral sanctions of an English home are, in the nineteenth century, what the moat, and the keep, and the drawbridge were in the fourteenth. In the strength of these we lie down to sleep at night, and leave our homes in the day, feeling that a whole neighbourhood would be raised, nay, the whole country, were any attempt made to violate what so many traditions, and such long custom, have rendered sacred."
You will not be sorry to have read this book.
Solar Trade Association Show Feed In Tariff Subsidies Not Needed
The average one-off installation cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has already dropped from more than $2 (£1.23) per unit of generating capacity in 2009 to about $1.50 in 2011. Based on broker reports and industry analysis, the report forecasts that those rates of decline will continue, with prices falling close to the $1 mark in 2013.
At present, solar PV is economically viable in the UK for homeowners, businesses and investors only because of government subsidies given out via feed-in tariffs (Fits). But the new analysis suggests that falling PV panel prices and rising fossil fuel prices could together make large-scale solar installations cost-competitive without government support within a decade â sooner than is usually assumed.
The report was commissioned by the Solar Trade Association (STA) from Ernst & Young's energy and environmental infrastructure advisory unit in response to the recent shake-up of Fits, which saw government support for large solar systems significantly reduced. This was a result of the government's decision to cap the total that could be spent via Fits and weight the limited budget in favour of domestic and other small-scale installations.
The chairman of the STA, Howard Johns, said the new analysis backed up the industry line that government support for all types of solar systems in the next few years made good economic sense as it would build capacity and enable unsubsidised solar to be as widely deployed as possible as prices come down.
No it bloody doesn't - it means that we don't need any subsidies at all. Our subsidy won't bring the price drop a day sooner. Wait for them to be economic and then fit them. Simples.
Use the money saved to do something more productive to save the planet in the meantime.
Just Name One - Marine Extinctions
Professor Rogers told BBC News.
"We've still got most of the world's biodiversity, but the actual rate of extinction is much higher [than in past events] - and what we face is certainly a globally significant extinction event."
Name one, just one, marine species that has gone extinct this century.
I can't find one, there are 1,450 marine species on the IUCN Red List Criteria (2007) so maybe one or two have gone phut that I have failed to spot but if lots were going I think I would be able to find some names, but I can't find one.
But we are told there is an unprecedented extinction event happening right now and action is needed.
Don't ask for evidence, time is too short for that.
Britain has a worse tax regime than France, India and China, according to a Populus poll for The Times that reveals the scale of the challenge facing the Government on growth.
The UK has been ranked bottom of six key competitors on personal and business taxation in a poll of voters that suggests they do not yet regard Britain as being “open for business”.
And that isn't even adding in the increasing regulatory burden. Almost enough to make one wish that the Conservatives had won the election.
Maybe We Need A Royal Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Patients
MORE elderly patients are dying of dehydration in Scotland's hospitals, figures show.
Inadequate fluid intake contributed to the deaths of 550 patients last year - up 9 per cent on the previous 12 months and up more than 25 per cent on a decade earlier, according to Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland.
The statistics also show 109 patients died malnourished, while 141 died while suffering bedsores.
Analysis of the data reveals in 2010, more than ten patients a week were "discharged dead" from hospital with a diagnosis of "volume depletion". The condition is described as the loss of both water and salts and is closely linked to dehydration.
The number of deaths from volume depletion has risen from 429 in 2001 and 503 in 2009. The highest figure in a decade was 638 in 2006.
A further 4,305 people were discharged alive suffering the condition.
Jail time would follow if this was pets that were being so treated.
The RSPCA has welcomed prison sentences and a ban on keeping animals handed out to a couple who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs. A veterinary examination concluded both dogs were very underweight and that Sally was severely emaciated. She was less than half the weight that she should have been, had early kidney failure and an infected liver.
Steady On The Water
Eight million gallons of water drained from reservoir after man urinates in it - Telegraph
Health experts said the incident would not have caused any harm to people in the city of Portland, who are supplied with drinking water from the reservoir.
They said the average human bladder holds only six to eight ounces, and the urine would have been vastly diluted.
But David Shaff, an administrator at the Portland Water Bureau, defended the decision to empty the lake.
"There are people who will say it's an over reaction. I don't think so. I think what you have to deal with here is the 'yuck' factor," he said.
Cue W C Fields - "I don't drink water. Fish fuck in it."
June 19, 2011
Businessmen in China have established the world’s first rhino farms to provide a ready supply of the animals’ horns for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
Dozens of white rhinos have been imported into China and are being kept in a secure park known as Africa View in Hainan province in the south of the country. There the rhinos’ horns are chopped off with the intention of selling the product for vast profit. A second farm is understood to have been set up in Yunnan province, in the south west.
It is suspected that the rhinos have their horns partly or wholly removed while under sedation. The operators of the farm then wait for the horns to regrow — typically at a rate of about 3in a year — before “harvesting” them again. The horns are largely composed of keratin, the same substance that makes up human hair and nails.
Good new all round one would think, but guess what...
The existence of the rhino farms, long rumoured but not previously confirmed, has dismayed campaigners who say the massive influx of horn into the market will increase demand and further threaten wild populations....
Yep that's the old economics at work, massive increase in supply of a legal substance increases the demand for the illegal variety of it. Are you sure that is right?
It wouldn't be because the number of Rhinos will increase ,and as golden geese looked after for their hair clippings, by private enterprise, would it?
June 18, 2011
Ken Clarke's Copybook
Jean-Claude Juncker says the UK's former chancellor was the key reason the fledgling single currency survived.
Opens little book, adds an extra large black cross against name. Strokes the hempen, one day, my lovely, one day.
A Free Speech Victory
“This is a victory for the little guy. Frankly, in this country we don’t generally do what I did and stand up and fight. It is a victory for free speech.”
June 17, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Bop Edition)
lead guitar : johnny meeks
piano : cliff simmons
bass guitar : grady owen
drums : clyde pennington
vocals : gene vincent
Climate Models Have Answered The Important Questions
....under the worst-case scenario, with a global failure to curb industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, Britain experiences an average temperature increase of between 2C and 4C by 2100, and North America has a catastrophic increase five times greater over the same period, the scientists say
But the "urban heat-island" effect caused by buildings and roads trapping heat will mean that British cities will experience a much higher frequency of hot summer nights. High night-time temperatures, rather than day-time heat, was the major factor behind the deaths of thousands of elderly Europeans during the unusually hot summer of 2003: fatal heart and breathing problems usually strike at night.
The computer model used in the assessment was developed by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado,...
The model runs on a suite of supercomputers and is composed of 1.5 million lines of computer code, which is made freely available to anyone who wants to inspect it, he says. "It is our flagship model and what sets us apart is that we have made it transparent and open."
Computer models of the climate, which aim to predict what will happen under different emissions scenarios, have come under sustained attack from climate sceptics who question their accuracy. Their case is supported by frequent examples of computer models run by different organisations coming to wildly different conclusions on regional predictions, especially in relation to rainfall, which is far harder to predict than temperature.
Climate Models To Start Asking The Important Questions
On Tuesday, a converted Gulfstream V jet loaded with scientific instruments took off from an airport in Colorado on a 24-day mission to measure carbon dioxide concentrations at thousands at different locations and altitudes over the Pacific Ocean between the North and South Poles....
Strange as it may seem, until the "Hippo" pole-to-pole observations began two years ago no one had actually measured carbon dioxide concentrations in such detail from one end of the Earth to the other at different altitudes, from sea-level to 45,000ft. The project is run by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research and it has already revealed that the many dozens of gases and other compounds that make up the atmosphere vary significantly from one place to another and from one altitude to another.
It is this heterogeneity that will be fed into the computer models of the climate which have in the past assumed a rather homogeneous and hence inaccurate picture of the different greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere.
"It's not so much to prove the models wrong, it's to help the modellers do the right thing by giving them the data to show them whether they are right or not," said David Fahey of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the hundreds of scientists working on the Hippo project.
"Once you can show the models have skill then you can ask important questions like 'What is going to happen if...?'. That's what the world really needs to know," Dr Fahey added.
And there was me thinking that they already had answered those important questions like 'What is going to happen if...
THE UK government is on course for a clash with its European Union partners over calls for Britain to put up to £16 billion into a new bail-out fund for the eurozone.
Mr Sarkozy urged other European countries to set aside their squabbling and self-interest to safeguard Europe's economies. "We need to move on from these national quarrels and get back to the sense of our common destiny," he said, hours after a meeting of European Commissioners broke up in gloom and foreboding at the failure to agree a second bail-out for Greece.
"I call on everyone to show the spirit of responsibility and sense of compromise on which Europe has been built. It's every-one's duty to do everything needed to safeguard the stability of the euro," Mr Sarkozy said.
I don't need no Hungarian dwarf to lecture me on "duty".
June 16, 2011
No Known Species Went Extinct Last Year
An antelope hunted to extinction in the wild has been brought back from the brink, conservationists said, as they unveiled the latest update on threatened species.
It is thought the last wild Arabian oryx was shot in 1972, but a successful captive breeding programme and reintroduction efforts mean its population now stands at 1,000 in its wild home of the Arabian peninsula
Good news. But with the threat to biodiversity being the new scare how are other species doing?
Let's look at the Summary Statistics of The Red List which lists all the endangered species.
Table 7 lists all the species that have changed in status since last year.
As far as I can see not one species moved into the extinct category last year - the St. Helena Darter moved out of it into the unknown category as no one has seen one since 1963 but then no one has really looked for one.
So whilst unknowns may have gone pop not one known has. Now there is a statistic you don't hear about.
June 15, 2011
Do They Count Sheep To Go To Sleep?
Climate change puts the heat on Darwin's Chillingham cattle - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent
The Chillingham cattle, with their white coats, red ears and horns, currently number 85 animals, who roam freely around the grounds of Chillingham Castle, seat of the historically influential Grey family. They were once domesticated but now live wild and differ from most other UK mammals because they give birth throughout the year, not only during spring and summer. Over the past 60 years, more and more cattle have been born during the winter. When the record of births was cross-referenced with Met Office weather data, scientists found warmer springs nine months earlier were responsible.
As any farmer knows being able to count your stock is not only a basic requirement of the trade but also a legal necessity. So how do our brave researchers deal with counting up to 85?
The supporting data is online.
You guessed, they model the numbers.
State-space models have two main components; a process model and a data model. Observations of time-series data (e.g., census estimates of total population size) are assumed to arise from some ‘true’ unobserved state that represents the true dynamics of the population (Calder et al. 2003). The data model describes this relationship between the observed data and this true state by incorporating observation error. The dynamics of the true state of the population through time are described by the process model, which explicitly incorporates process variance.
The data model describes the relationship between the observed data, Yit, (the number of animals counted during census) and the underlying ‘true’ state of the population Nit (the total number of animals in the population including those animals that were not included in the count) by explicitly incorporating observation error. The relative population size within each of the six age/sex classes in year t is modelled using a multinomial distribution,....
We Are All Going To Fry
By 2050, the coolest summers in the tropics and parts of the northern hemisphere will still be hotter than the most scorching summers since the mid-20th century if global warming continues apace, according to a new study.
Tropical regions in Africa, Asia and South America could see "the permanent emergence of unprecedented summer heat" even within the next decades, said the study, to be published later this month in the journal Climatic Change Letters.
In the model, up to 70 percent of summer seasons from 2010 to 2039 exceeded the late-20th century maximum in the zones straddling the Equator.
Wide swaths of North America, China and Mediterranean Europe are also likely to enter a new "heat regime" by 2070, the study found.
The researchers also analysed historical data from weather stations around the world to see if the projected increase in temperatures had already begun.
"This extreme heat emergence is occuring now, and climate models represent the historical pattern remarkably well,"
Green Gold Warning
The extent of the potential bounty from seaweed found around the Outer Hebrides between high and low tides has been mapped for the first time in more than 60 years. A study shows that only 39 per cent of the "green gold" is accessible.
Only one company currently processes seaweed in the islands, where it once supported hundreds of jobs, although there are plans for investing in a £20 million in a processing plant that could generate up to an estimated £50m.
However, experts have warned against a large-scale increase in the Hebridean industry, because it might deplete the resource and have a knock-on effect on the marine environment.
But the Met Office needs the increased amounts of seaweed to improve their weather forecasts....
June 13, 2011
It's 'global weirding' now
Tornados, wildfires, droughts and floods were once seen as freak conditions. But the environmental disasters now striking the world are shocking signs of 'global weirding'
Sceptics argue that there have always been droughts and floods, freak weather, heatwaves and temperature extremes, but what concerns most climate scientists and observers is that the extreme weather events are occurring more frequently, their intensity is growing and the trends all suggest long-term change as greenhouse gases steadily build in the atmosphere.
What a pity they don't link to the data that shows such increases because I can't find it.
June 12, 2011
Huhne Orders Consumer To Revolt On Energy Prices
Chris Huhne, told the Observer that consumers should not accept the increases "lying down" but "hurt" their supplier by finding cheaper alternatives.
"Consumers don't have to take price increases lying down," he said. "If an energy company hits you with a price increase, you can hit them back where it hurts – by shopping around and voting with your feet."
I'm confused - most of the cost, and increases in prices, of fuel can be blamed on the policies of Mr Huhne's "Greenest Government Ever".
Should we be shopping around and voting with our feet for our leaders?
Huge Solar Subsidies Coming Back?
Ministers plan an abrupt change of policy to rescue solar power jobs | Mail Online
Ministers plan an abrupt change of policy in an effort to rescue tens of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment promised by Britain's solar energy industry, which are threatened by Treasury cuts.
Behind the scenes, the Department of Energy and Climate Change is understood to have been working on proposals to revive large-scale solar generation by using a different mechanism to encourage energy companies to buy more solar-generated electricity.
An announcement on the size of the subsidy to large-scale projects will be made in the autumn. The hope is that by 2013, when new tariffs take effect, the solar industry will be able once again to develop.
The solar energy sector is seen by the Government as potentially helpful in rebalancing the economy away from services, creating jobs and challenging the might of the major energy companies.
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: 'I am a big fan of solar energy. I believe it can have an important role in breaking the stranglehold of the Big Six energy companies.'
We have Mr Huhne bitching about the power companies, now we have Mr Baker doing the same, as they increase their prices to consumers. And their answer is to increase the cost of producing power by increasing subsidies paid to alternative producers. But picking the money from a different pocket. Huh?
An Englishman Emigrating
Sometime ago I posted a picture:
An Englishman in his Library
John Frederick Marchant of 59 Berners Street, Middlesex, flax chandler,
I invited any relatives to claim the picture. It was just an old photo I found in a second hand frame - I'm pleased that after five years a relative has come forward to claim the old boy and he is now off to enjoy a venerated after life in New Zealand.
June 10, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Staying The Same Edition)
Promising young blues band, if they could just learn to simplify things and cut it a bit shorter they could go far. I wonder whatever happened to them.
Wiltshire Church Accidentally Keeps The Second Commandment
An "image of Jesus" seen in dripped wax by worshippers at a church in Wiltshire has been removed by a cleaner.
The face was first spotted by a church warden at the parish church of Ogbourne St George at Easter.
The image, described as a a man with a long beard, was formed by candle wax dripping from the church's pulpit...
Despite going through the church's cleaning rotas, no-one has admitted to scraping away the wax image.
"I felt really disappointed actually and I wished I'd done more about preserving it," admitted Mrs Irwin.
"The Church of England is not very good at this sort of thing and if I'd done something sooner it could have been a bit of a money spinner."
But that is what the dear old C of E is all about - none of that idolatrous worship of waxen images with pennies being put in the slot... Another finger of Bushmills and I will come over all Dr Ian and start denouncing the Whore of Babylon and Graven Images....
What Is a Good Society?
Compass, that lefty campaigning organisation that charges a subscription fee so that Neal Lawson can earn a hefty wedge, is asking people what is their definition of the Good Society.
And seeing as it’s Friday, that afternoon when we’re all looking for something to do to while away the hours until the pub, why not actually go and tell them what you think the Good Society is?
Aaronovitch Breaks Wind
Windy Nimbies mean nothing can get done | The Times
If you threaten an Englishman with a wind farm he will burst into tears.
The relationship between streaming eyes and renewable energy was established in BBC Two’s documentary series Windfarm Wars. In public, on doorsteps, in interviews and behind computer screens, folk were weeping as the interminable process of getting a small windfarm built in central Devon crawled from council chamber to courtroom.
As most sentient Britons over 5 and under 100 know, we long ago as a nation signed up to the idea that we had to cut carbon emissions. But how was this to be done without returning to an agricultural economy? Mostly by energy conservation and investment in renewable energy — waves, solar power and wind.
....the objectors didn’t like the sight of the 120ft turbines, they thought the blades reduced property values and would cause disruption while being built.
Someone even managed to claim that the machines were a danger to “bats, birds [and] children”. Presumably low-flying children. One ominously quiet man, Mike, made effective mayhem about noise and became the Hereward the Wake of wind resistance.
The developer made the cardinal error of failing to put all information, relevant or irrelevant, into the public domain because of “the hassle”, and likeable Mike was off, full of justified grievance.
The truth? There wasn’t that much noise. The shallow valley that the turbines were in wasn’t that pretty, and if anything the slender shapes gave a rather nice focal point in the landscape. So if not there, where? And if not wind, what?
If not wind? How long a list do you want of sensible alternatives?
Happy 90th Sir
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, was born Prince of Greece and Denmark in Corfu on 10 June 1921.
He was born the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece. His paternal family is of Danish descent - Prince Andrew was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.
After leaving Gordonstoun in 1939, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy, graduating the next year from the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as the top cadet in his course. He was commissioned as a midshipman in January 1940. Philip spent four months on the battleship HMS Ramillies, protecting convoys of the Australian Expeditionary Force in the Indian Ocean, followed by shorter postings on HM Ships Kent, Shropshire and in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). After the invasion of Greece by Italy in October 1940, he was transferred from the Indian Ocean to the battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet. Amongst other engagements, he was involved in the Battle of Crete, was mentioned in despatches for his service during the Battle of Cape Matapan where he saved his ship from a night bomber attack. He devised a plan to launch a raft with smoke floats that successfully distracted the bombers allowing the ship to slip away unnoticed.
Philip was also awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour. Duties of lesser glory included stoking the boilers of the troop transport ship RMS Empress of Russia.
Prince Philip was promoted to sub-lieutenant after a series of courses at Portsmouth in which he gained the top grade in four out of five sections. In June 1942, he was appointed to the V and W class destroyer and flotilla leader, HMS Wallace, which was involved in convoy escort tasks on the east coast of Britain, as well as the allied invasion of Sicily. Promotion to lieutenant followed on 16 July 1942. In October of the same year, at just 21 years of age, he became first lieutenant of HMS Wallace and one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy. In 1944, he moved on to the new destroyer, HMS Whelp, where he saw service with the British Pacific Fleet in the 27th Destroyer Flotilla. He was present in Tokyo Bay when the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed
As fine a foreigner who ever made an English Gentleman - A tot of something to celebrate a life of service is in order I think
Scottish Energy Policy - Realism Attacks
THE Scottish Government's target of generating 100 per cent of the country's electricity needs from renewables by 2020 is unrealistic and unachievable, according to a leading economist.
Mr Mackay said his is the first report to provide a "realistic and objective assessment" of how Scotland's energy industries are likely to develop in the next decade.
"There is confusion and errors - deliberate or otherwise - in many of the other reports between energy production and consumption, and also between electricity generating capacity and actual generation, particularly for wind farms.
You don't say.
Keeping The Memory Pure
Rockers The Doors threaten Paris bar - FRANCE 24
Lawyers for US rock group The Doors threatened legal action against a Paris bar devoted to the band, saying it did not want to be associated with a drinking establishment, the landlord said Thursday.
Drink, Alcohol, Intoxication, how very dare they associate that with the sainted Jim Morrison and The Doors. What ever next? They will start suggesting something about drugs....
June 9, 2011
The Olympic Logo
Anoneumouse has come up with the logo, and included the torch!
I commend it to the house as the Olympic Logo to use.
UPDATE - Version Two
Swine Flu - Worse Than Thought
Half of Scots were infected by swine flu - Scotsman.com News
ALMOST one in two Scots caught swine flu during the first outbreak of the virus, but only one in 20 went to doctors reporting symptoms, research has revealed.
A study by Edinburgh University found that the swine flu outbreak of winter 2009-2010 was much more widespread than was previously realised, affecting up to two million people in Scotland.
Blood samples taken from Scottish adults in March last year at the end of the H1N1 flu season showed that almost half were carrying antibodies to the virus.
July 2009 -
UP TO 65,000 people in Britain could die as a result of swine flu as the pandemic takes hold across the country, according to the government's latest calculations.
Sir Liam Donaldson, the UK government's chief medical officer, said the scenario of 65,000 deaths was based on 30 per cent of the population – some 18 million people – becoming ill and 0.35 per cent of those dying.
But the actual number of fatalities could be anywhere between 3,000 and 750,000, he added.
Not "Climate Change" Now It is "Weather Panic"
A perfect storm of stupid | Amy Goodman | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
"We're making the Earth a more dynamic and violent place … We're trapping more of the sun's energy in this narrow envelope of atmosphere, and that's now expressing itself in many ways. We don't know for sure that any particular tornado comes from climate change. There have always been tornadoes. We do know that we're seeing epic levels of thunderstorm activity, of flooding, of drought, of all the things that climatologists have been warning us about."
The New Politics of Climate Change : The New Yorker
For decades, climate scientists have predicted that, as global temperatures rose, the side effects would include deeper droughts, more intense flooding, and more ferocious storms. The details of these forecasts are immensely complicated, but the underlying science is pretty simple. Warm air can hold more moisture. This means that there is greater evaporation. It also means that there is more water, and hence more energy, available to the system.
What we are seeing now is these predictions being borne out. If no particular flood or drought or storm can be directly attributed to climate change—there’s always the possibility that any single event was just a random occurrence—the over-all trend toward more extreme weather follows from the heating of the earth. As the cover of Newsweek declared last week, “weather panic” is the “new normal.”
Is no one able to actually do a statistical analysis of past events and come up with some numbers to prove their theory, or is hanky waving panic the new science we should impoverish ourselves for?
June 8, 2011
How Many Holes Has Seb Coe Got?
The torch, which has 8,000 holes in its gold coloured aluminium frame, representing the runners who will transport the Olympic flame for 70 days around the UK and Ireland...
Now call me an old sceptic but if Seb Coe told me the sun rose in the east I would phone up Greenwich Observatory to check. Not that I don't trust the man but.
So the torch is 1 meter tall (ten times the width of his grasping hand). There are ten holes per side at the top - three sides thirty holes per row.
The holes are about 1 cm diameter, look at the finger tip.
100 rows at 30 per row makes 3000.
Maybe there are lots of extra holes at the bottom, or maybe he is counting the holes on the inside as well as the outside, but whatever I bet we paid more than $44.58 for a rolled up tube of 24 inches x 36 inches Round Hole Aluminum Perforated Sheet 3003 H14
Free Speech on Education
Professor AC Grayling was forced to abandon a public talk on Tuesday night after protesters opposed to his plans to set up a private university set off a smoke bomb.
The plans have been criticised by academics as being elitist.
At the end of the heated hour-long debate, during which Prof Grayling was verbally abused by students protesting against his plans, protesters set off the device.
Despite no reported injuries, several people experienced breathing problems caused by the fumes.
Despite knowing about planned protests, organisers insisted on continuing the debate because they wanted a “free exchange of ideas”.
On several occasions, Prof Grayling was shouted down during the debate as he sought to defend the new institution.
As soon as joined in the discussion, someone from the crowd shouted: “You have no right to speak”.
The fear that a centre of excellence in education engenders in the hearts of some academics and students tells its own story.
The Spy In Your Bin
BBC News - BinCam makes students recycle through Facebook photos
A bin that photographs rubbish is shaming Newcastle students into recycling.
Images of their discarded packaging are being posted automatically on social networking site Facebook.....
Cost Of Power
SCOTTISH households are facing another wave of steep energy price rises, after a leading provider revealed looming increases which will see the average annual gas and electricity bill rocket by £180.
Watchdog Ofgem, which is conducting a major overhaul of the energy market, has come under fire from consumer groups and the Scottish Government, who believe the regulator should step in to put a stop to the spiralling cost of gas and electricity.
So how do you feel about all that money you pay extra on your bill to subsidise those windfarms now Mr Voter?
June 7, 2011
Say it ain't so....An Englishman's Castle: German Jokes - Part II
2012 Logo Help Needed
As Orphans of Liberty brings us yet another story about the joys of next summer I am still working on my T shirt logo for 2012.
I thought of the words Sod Off but these letters seem to work.
If anyone would like to improve on the idea I will buy the merchandise.
June 6, 2011
Situation Normal - Worse Than Expected
...the change in weather may be due to the shrinking of the sea ice cap in the Arctic. Ice cover there has been disappearing at a striking rate and is currently at its lowest recorded level for this time of year. Less and less solar radiation is being reflected back into space as a result, and the atmosphere heats up. But how such a phenomenon could affect the weather over Britain is unclear.
Meteorologist Tim Woollings, of Reading University, said: "Climate models are starting to show some agreement that jet streams will shift slight closer to the poles in response to increases in greenhouse gases."
Such a trend could bring more settled, dry hot weather systems to Britain, though predictions are unclear. "There is still considerable disagreement between different models," Woollings added. "The hot weather we had this year arose because the jet stream was deflected south. Last year, it occurred because the stream was deflected north. So it is still very difficult to predict what will happen."
However, Woollings was sure that climate change would continue to have an influence. "One thing we can say is that even if the statistics of weather regimes do not change, we may feel the impact of some of them more strongly.
So even though Arctic sea ice in the spring is within a smidgen of what it has been "since records began". And one year it is warm because the jet streams go north, and next year because they go south. And the statistics may not change... We are all going to die.
Don't mention the "S" word
Global warming crisis may mean world has to suck greenhouse gases from air | Environment | The Guardian
"We are putting ourselves in a scenario where we will have to develop more powerful technologies to capture emissions out of the atmosphere," said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change. "We are getting into very risky territory," she said, stressing that time was running out.
Remember only professional Climate "Scientists" are allowed to voice opinions, we can't allow amateurs to influence policy can we?
Christiana Figueres - CV
1993 Certificate in Organization and Systems Design, Gestalt
Institute of Cleveland
1991 Certification in Organization Development, Georgetown
1981 M. Sc. in Social Anthropology, London School of Economics
1979 B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology, Swarthmore College
Commitment to global strategy to address climate change
Full time dedication to climate change for 15 years as negotiator, analyst, and capacity builder:
Trained and authorized by Al Gore to deliver his presentation The Inconvenient Truth
I guess that means she really is a trained Climate Scientist then. Why else would she claim that time is running out.
Don't mention the "C" word
BBC News - Archaeologists unearth Britain's 'first building boom'
The Neolithic period in Britain occurred between 4,000 and 2,000 BC.
It was when people took up agriculture as a way of life and stopped being nomadic hunter-gatherers.
It also saw the emergence of trade across the British Isles and the development of new technologies. But until now, we have had only a rather coarse picture of the chronology of events during this eventful period in our history.
Professor Alistair Whittle of Cardiff University said: "With more accurate dating, the Neolithic period is no longer the sleepy, hazy swathe of time where it is the default position to lump everything together.
"This research fundamentally challenges the notion that little happened among our Stone Age farmers. We can now think about the Neolithic period in terms of more rapid changes, constant movement of people and fast diffusion of ideas."
This sounds very like what Matt Ridley describes as When Ideas Have Sex.
No mention of the climate in the BBC article (and I haven't found the actual report online to link to). But this from another BBC story...
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Alpine melt reveals ancient life
Melting alpine glaciers are revealing fascinating clues to Neolithic life in the high mountains.
What fascinates scientists about the age of the finds is that they correspond to times when climate specialists have already calculated the Earth was going through an especially warm period, caused by fluctuations in the orbital pattern of the Earth in relation to the Sun.
At these times, historians now speculate, the high mountain regions became accessible to humans.
Don't mention the "O" word
BBC News - E. coli outbreak: German farm in Uelzen 'likely source' ... the farm grows a wide variety of beansprouts from seeds imported from different countries. The beansprouts include adzuki, alfalfa, broccoli, peas, lentils and mung beans, all grown in the nursery for consumption in salads. .. the sprouts produced there are grown in temperatures of about 38C, "which is ideal for all bacteria".
No mention of the word "organic" in the BBC report. I wonder they don't mention that stewing beans in blood warm shit and then eating them raw ain't the best of ideas.
June 3, 2011
This Be The Verse
Proposals include ban on sale of 'adult' pre-teen clothes, and requiring 'lads mags' to sell in brown covers
The proposals come in a long-awaited report, leaked to the Guardian, on the commercialisation of childhood. It was commissioned by Cameron and is due to be published on Monday with strong support from Downing Street.
The report, which was prepared by Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Christian charity Mothers' Union, finds "sexualised and gender stereotyped clothing, products and services for children are the biggest concerns for parents and many non-commercial organisations".
In response to his recommendations on clothing, it is expected that the British Retail Consortium, following consultation with Mumsnet, the web-based parents' forum, will announce a new code next week....
Government to regulate after 18 months if progress insufficient....
Some Labour politicians have, however, called for regulation to be put in place faster.
Mumsnet, Mothers' Union, Non-commercial organisations, Legislation...
Friday Night is Music Night (Ever Fallen Edition)
Calling Mr Hitchcock
Pupil Joe Biggins, 16, said: ''Red kites come and swarm around everyone when they're eating.
''They've swooped down to grab it out of our hand. One Year eight student had his hand scratched by one of them and had a tetanus jab.
''When they're flying above, you don't get a feel for how big they are. But when they're up close, they are very intimidating.''
Farm workers, the RAF and members of the public have called for a cull of the birds after a spate of attacks.
Colin Wilkinson, a conservation officer for the RSPB in Oxfordshire, said: ''There are sadly a minority out there who would love to take us back to the 19th Century and shoot, trap and poison all kinds of birds of prey.
''Red kites are a tremendous conservation success story and now a familiar sight.
''Most people are delighted to have red kites back in Oxfordshire as part of our bird community.
''They are big, spectacular birds and I'm sure they're a bit scary close up but I think we need to respond to this kind of story with thought and care.''
Thought and care as kids cower in the classrooms afraid to go out.
I have a thought and I am very careful.
MP For The Khmer Vert
Hay Festival 2011: Caroline Lucas leads call for return to wartime austerity - Telegraph
....a more simple life when we made do with old clothes, shared baths and grew our own vegetables.
By Louise Gray
Her argument was based on the seminal work of EF Schumacher, the author of Small is Beautiful.
Almost forty years after publication of the book she not only said “small is possible” but “small is inevitable”.
In fact if we do not move to a more sustainable way of living then global warming is a “hideous prospect”.
Even David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has admitted Schumacher is an influence on his idea for a ‘Big Society’..
The New Home Front campaign aims to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging people to “make do and mend”and “dig for victory”.
There is more on this dribbleconomics at the aptly named Make Wealth History.
June 2, 2011
Does Tiffany Do Jewel Encrusted Lengths Of Hempen Rope?
Commissioners travelled in limousines, stayed in five star hotels and splashed out on lavish gifts including Tiffany jewellery as their member states faced savage budget cuts and rising EU taxes.
The Commission also ran up a bill of more than €300,000 (£263,511) for lavish cocktail parties, including an event in Amsterdam costing €75,000, which was described as “a night filled with wonder like no other”.
Baroness Ashton, the British EU foreign minister, came under fire when it was reported that she had demanded her own private jet less than 100 days into her new role in March last year.
Baroness Ashton infuriated British government ministers last month when she demanded an extra £23.5 million to run her diplomatic service, which would take her total budget to £427 million.
The EU foreign minister is the world’s highest paid female politician, earning £230,000 a year.
"Earning" or "being paid"? - there is a difference. Bring on the happy day.
Subsidise The Wasteful To Save The World
The UK government has proposed a new system for incentivising power plants with low carbon emissions, such as nuclear.
It would benefit generators that provided constant supplies of electricity, such as nuclear, at the expense of intermittent suppliers such as wind farms.
Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) chief executive Ian Marchant said such an approach "potentially just damages the market's disciplines and could have a negative impact on renewables".
If we are going to subsidise low carbon technology then it should be technology blind. The result we want is less carbon for our buck, how that is delivered is irrelevant. And that might mean a reliable technology that works all the time is better value than one that isn't and doesn't.
Tim Lang - Don't Let Them Get Uppity
Where is the 21st-century approach to feeding the world? | Tim Lang | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
The prospect of prices doubling ought to focus minds on forging a replacement for a failed approach to food modernity
To the west, the great success of the food story in the second half of the 20th century was lower prices. This allowed spending to diversify and fuelled the consumer society boom. Proportionately less outlay on food meant more for clothes, homes, holidays and fun.
Oxfam prophesises that food prices will double by 2030. That would take the average British shopping basket to around 20% of disposable income. But to the poorest of the world, it would mean almost all income going on food.
The South African government is reported to be considering whether to emulate Tony Blair's action in 1999 when concerned about food prices. Turn to Wal-Mart. Aware of the vice-like grip Britain's dwindling number of supermarket giants had over 60 million British mouths, Blair sent signals that the UK would welcome the world's biggest food retailer to introduce some price competition. Competition and US capital were to be the recipe to hold down food prices. Wal-Mart purchased Asda, the chain already close to the Wal-Mart giant store model.
Is this model really the answer? Hardly. It's part of the problem. Essentially, the consumer drives to the store. No longer does the food come to the consumer. In a world where oil prices have also rocketed – one of the real reasons for rising food prices – this is no longer an apt model. Surely, the last thing South Africa needs is a retail giant that threatens the existence of thousands of small shopkeepers. Allowing it into Africa may signal modernity, but it's ecological and social irresponsibility.
Keep those happy grinning blacks hard at work on the land, they don't want "clothes, homes, holidays and fun." Not like us well educated liberal whites, it would be wasted on them.
June 1, 2011
The Countryside You Pay For
The tall crop on the left won't be harvested, it is being grown for the wild birds to eat during the winter. The grass on the right is not used to feed animals, it is for the birds to nest in, as is the hedge. In the distance under the hills there is five acres of fallow for different birds to nest in, and the downs themselves are managed organically with low output planned.
Ten years ago there wasn't a hedge here and every inch was ploughed to produce food, apart from the downs which had had fertiliser flown onto them to maximise output.
Farmers have responded to financial incentives and wildlife has paid better than food. Every change is reversible.